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Novak Djokovic

(Serbian professional tennis player)

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Novak Djokovic (Serbian: Новак ?окови?, Novak Đoković pronounced [nɔ̂ʋaːk dʑɔ̂ːkɔʋitɕ] (listen); born 22 May 1987) is a Serbian professional tennis player who has been ranked number one in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) since 4 July 2011. He has won four Grand Slam singles titles: the 2008 and 2011 Australian Open championships, the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2011 US Open. By winning these three Majors in 2011, Djokovic became the 6th player in the open era to win 3 Majors in a calendar year. He is the first player representing Serbia to win a Major singles title and the youngest player in the open era to have reached the semifinals of all four Grand Slam events, separately and consecutively. Amongst other titles, he won the Tennis Masters Cup in 2008 and was also on the team which won the 2010 Davis Cup.

He is considered the best male tennis player to ever come out of Serbia, the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. Djokovic is also a double winner of The Best Sportsperson of Serbia award and the award for The Best Sportsman by the Olympic Committee of Serbia. He has been awarded the Order of St. Sava, the highest decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Djokovic is a UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia.

Novak Djokovic was born 22 May 1987, in Belgrade, Serbia, to father Srđan (Ср?ан) and mother Dijana (Ди?ана). His two younger brothers, Marko and Đorđe (?ор?е), are also tennis players with professional aspirations. Since the end of 2005, Novak has been dating Jelena Ristić (?елена Ристи?).

He started playing tennis at the age of four. In the summer 1993, the six-year-old was spotted by Yugoslav tennis legend Jelena Genčić at Mount Kopaonik where Djokovic's parents ran a fast-food parlour. Upon seeing the dedicated and talented youngster in action, she stated: "This is the greatest talent I have seen since Monica Seles." Genčić worked with young Djokovic over the following six years before realizing that, due to his rapid development, going abroad in search of increased level of competition was the best option for his future. To that end, she contacted Nikola Pilić, and in September 1999, the 12-year-old moved to the Pilić tennis academy in Oberschleißheim, Germany, spending three months there. At age 14, he began his international career, winning European championships in singles, doubles, and team competition.

He resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco and has been coached since 2006 by a former Slovak tennis player, Marián Vajda.

Djokovic is known for his often humorous off-court impersonations of his fellow players, many of whom are his friends. This became evident to the tennis world after his 2007 US Open quarterfinal win over Carlos Moyà, where he entertained the audience with impersonations of Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. He also did an impression of American tennis great John McEnroe after his final preliminary game at the 2009 US Open, before playing a brief game with McEnroe, much to the delight of the audience. It is because of this jovial personality that he earned the nickname "Djoker", a portmanteau of his surname and the word joker. Novak Djokovic is a member of the "Champions for Peace" club, a group of famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.

Similar to fellow pro Roger Federer, Djokovic is a self-described fan of languages, speaking four himself: his native Serbian, English, German, and Italian.

Djokovic is an all-court player with emphasis on aggressive baseline play. His groundstrokes from both wings are consistent, deep, and penetrating. His backhand is widely regarded as one of the best in today's game. His best weapon is his backhand down the line, with great pace and precision. He is also known as one of the greatest movers on the court with superior agility, court coverage and defensive ability. After great technical difficulties during the 2009 season, his serve is one of his major weapons again, winning him many free points; his first serve is typically hit flat, while he prefers to slice and kick his second serves wide. Darren Cahill has stated that Djokovic, along with David Ferrer, is the best returner of serve in the men's game. Occasionally, Djokovic employs a well-disguised backhand underspin drop shot and sliced backhand. His drop shots still tend to be a drawback when hit under pressure and without proper preparation.

Djokovic used Head rackets, using a custom paint job of the Head YouTek Speed Pro racquet, after using Wilson until the end of 2008. In the 2011 Australian Open, he began using a custom PJ of the Head YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20 with Innegra fibre technology. Djokovic uses a full bed of X-One Biphase 17 (a multifilament).

At the end of 2009, Djokovic signed a 10-year deal with the Italian clothing company Sergio Tacchini after Adidas refused to extend his clothing contract (choosing instead to sign Andy Murray). From 2011 Djokovic began to wear custom Red and Blue Adidas Barricade 6.0's shoes, referring to the colours of the Serbian national flag.

The business end of Djokovic's career was initially handled by Israeli managers Amit Naor and Allon Khakshouri. In June 2008, he signed with CAA Sports.

From fall 2005 until June 2006, Djokovic was coached by Riccardo Piatti who divided his time between the 18-year-old and Ivan Ljubičić. Player and coach reportedly parted ways over the latter's refusal to devote to Djokovic full time.

Since June 2006, Djokovic has been coached by Slovakian former professional tennis player Marián Vajda. They met for the first time during that year's French Open, after which Vajda got hired to be the 19-year-old's coach. On occasion Djokovic employed additional coaches on part-time basis: in 2007, during the spring hardcourt season, he worked with Australian doubles ace Mark Woodforde with specific emphasis on volleys and net play while from August 2009 until April 2010 American Todd Martin joined the coaching team, a period marked by his ill-fated attempt to change Djokovic's serve motion.

In July 2010, before the Davis Cup clash away at Croatia, Djokovic made another addition to his team - nutritionist Igor Četojević who additionally focuses on Chinese medicine and does acupuncture. He discovered the tennis player suffers from Celiac Disease and cannot eat gluten, purging it from his diet. It appeared to have worked as Djokovic began feeling stronger, quicker, and much more fit. After Djokovic's Wimbledon win in July 2011, Četojević left the team.

After his victory in Montreal, tennis coach Nick Bollettieri stated that Djokovic is the most "complete" player of all time. He has the backhand, forehand, serve, second serve, movement, mentality, and can play equally well on any surface.

List of awards

2005
Best Male Tennis Player in Serbia and Montenegro

2006
ATP Most Improved Player of the Year
Best Male Tennis Player in Serbia

2007
ATP Most Improved Player of the Year
Best Male Tennis Player in Serbia
Best Sportsman by Olympic Committee of Serbia
Golden Badge of DSL Sport

2008
Best Male Tennis Player in Serbia

2009
Best Male Tennis Player In Serbia
Oscar Of Popularity Best Male Athlete

2010
Best Male Tennis Player In Serbia
Best Sportsman by Olympic Committee of Serbia
Golden Badge of DSL Sport
Oscar Of Popularity Best Male Athlete

2011
Order of St. Sava - First Class

Novak is a Serbian Orthodox Christian. On 28 April 2011, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia awarded Novak the Order of St. Sava I class, the highest decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church, because he demonstrated love for the church, and because he provided assistance to the Serbian people, churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Kosovo and Metohija.

He is a keen fan of Serbian football club Red Star Belgrade and Italian Serie A side A.C. Milan.

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